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China Launches World’s First Underwater Data Center

Installation of Key Components for Hainan’s Pioneering Underwater Data Center Completed in Lingshui. Photo: China Daily

China has achieved a world first by starting the assembly of an underwater commercial data center off the coast of Sanya, on Hainan Island, according to China Daily.

The exponential increase in internet and AI-generated data necessitates large data centers, traditionally land-based and energy-intensive. Efforts towards sustainability in these facilities have been ongoing, but China’s underwater approach could represent a groundbreaking alternative.

The project is a collaborative effort between China Offshore Oil Engineering Co. (COOEC) and Highlander, a private data center company. This partnership combines public and private sector expertise to realize the ambitious underwater data center.

Modules in the data center are reported to boast remarkable processing power, capable of handling millions of high-definition images in seconds. These modules, each weighing 1,300 tons, are submerged to a depth of 35 meters.

With plans to install 100 modules, the facility aims to match the computing power of six million PCs. The underwater setting naturally cools the hardware, saving significant electricity and fresh water, while also conserving land space.

Uncharted waters: The 25-year lifespan of these modules is promising, but concerns about seawater corrosion and impacts on marine ecosystems remain. Highlander’s experience is limited to a 2021 test in Zhuhai, and Microsoft’s previous experiments in underwater data centers have not progressed to further projects.

By CircleID Reporter

CircleID’s internal staff reporting on news tips and developing stories. Do you have information the professional Internet community should be aware of? Contact us.

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